Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Book Review: Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse

This book draws you in from the first chapter.

I had put off reading this book, and then got an email reminder that my review was almost due. So I opened it up Sunday afternoon and was immediately swept into the story. I really didn't expect to love it, yes I said LOVE IT as much as I did! I read half of the book Sunday night, and the rest on Monday!

And I will say, for a book dealing with heavy topics, Race and Racism in the 1960's, the divide between rich and poor, this book was surprisingly funny. Now just to be clear, they don't joke about those topics, those topics are met with much respect and not taken lightly. But the characters do have some funny moments and funny thoughts in their heads throughout the book. I was actually laughing out loud at several parts, which again, given the subject matter, not something you expect to be doing.

This book was just beautiful. It spoke of the love, affection and friendship between Isaac and Pete and his family, and then it followed Pete through the rest of his childhood and adolescence, where Isaac's influence was clear in Pete's behaviour. It was just beautiful! I will admit several parts made me want to cry. The ending had resolution, but of course it wasn't the resolution that I wanted!

I can't wait to read more of this author's books!

Thanks to Revell for giving me a copy for free in exchange for my honest opinion!

Sunday, January 14, 2018


I made it through the first week of teaching!!!!!!!



The struggle was real and I was yawning through, well we'll just not mention how many lessons I yawned through.  But in the end I made it and I was happy to see my students again!

 Open for Business!!!
 The pink clipboard and I were ready to go!

What you can't see in this picture is how terrible I felt. Sunday as I was getting ready for church I started not to feel well. It continued all of Sunday, and all of Monday. My chronic illness was flaring up and I felt miserable. Pain, pain, nausea and more pain. But I made it thru the day, and thankfully by  Wednesday I was feeling a lot better. But it was a rough start to the week!
 Tuesday was my day off and boy was I happy for it! After feeling so bad, I still didn't feel well on Tuesday but I was starting to get better. Some rest and laying on the couch watching Sister Wives helped greatly!
 Wednesday was a super busy day, I added another student to my rooster that day, so it started earlier than last semester. I treated myself to a Frozen Mocha from Dunkin Donuts. My very favorite! #SoGood 

Inbetween and then after lessons I went here there and everywhere. That night I went to Aldi and got groceries as it was supposed to snow a lot on Friday so I wanted to be sure and stock up. I ran into several people I knew and chatted so it took a little longer than normal. But by the time I checked out it was so quiet in there, and i think there was only one other couple shopping. Quietest it has ever been! it was kind of weird!

Thursday I took zero pictures? Not sure how that happened. I didn't have to teach until later so I ran some more errands and then picked up some McFlurries for Baptist Happy Hour! Jboz and I hadn't seen eachother since the recital, and last semester's schedule wasn't great for Baptist Happy Hour. So i was excited to visit with her and catch up! I played with Roman a bit as he was skipping out on his nap. And when Jboz told him to tell me goodbye when I left he ran up, unprompted! and hugged my legs! SO SWEET!!! Made my day!

Friday we didn't get the snow that was forecasted, but we did get ice over night. I had put out salt Thursday night but I think the rain washed it all away. Argh!! It was a cold, blustery day that I was happy to spend inside!!!

Saturday my parents stopped by very briefly to drop off some things I had left at home over Christmas, and to drop off a surprise loaner of a snowblower!! Apparently My Mom found one on a great sale and bought it for their house, but didn't realize you couldn't use it on gravel. Which all of their driveway is gravel. So she decided to loan it to me for the winter, since she can't use it that much, and I have lower back issues. Everytime I shovel I wind up in pain. When I came back from Christmas, I was bringing my luggage inside, and it had snowed while i was gone, and I realized that pulling a suitcase does a fantastic job of getting snow out of the way! Soooooo I might have possibly used one to do my sidewalks. And told my Mom about it. And she made fun of me. For days. But I'm telling you IT WORKED and my back did not hurt! So I think she thought I was a nutcase with my suitcase snow removal. I say, whatever works! It's supposed to snow more tonight and tomorrow and I am weirdly excited to try out this snowblower! Stay Tuned!

Today is my Team's week to serve at church so I put my ever so attractive orange shirt on and layered up. It was -1 when I got out of the shower and 1 when I left for church. My truck did not want to start. Which I knew it wouldn't. Anything under 10 degrees and I have issues. Thankfully it finally started. And by the time I got to church my driver side had thawed out enough for me to get out of the truck like a normal person. The door was frozen shut when I tried to leave so once again I had to enter through the passenger's side. First time I have done that THIS winter. And I know it won't be the last! If only I had a garage......

Monday, January 8, 2018


Let's see if I can keep up with a weekly recap for the second year in a row! I rather like this, as it helps me remember what I did, or didn't do. HA! And it's less work than having to blog about single events. 

 By Tuesday my tree was down and my living room was back to being clean and roomy! I couldn't say the same for the rest of the house, but baby steps! Thankfully before I left for the farm, i.e. before the snow and negative temps, I carried all of my tubs that hold my trees and decorations inside, and put them in the piano studio. That was a really wise decision! Next year I am going to start taking down decorations before I go home. Just because it is a lot of work, and when I came back I wanted to relax, and have a clean and christmas free house.
 I revelled in being able to drink a glass of coca cola at 5:30 pm and not have to worry about falling asleep! That week of no alarm was GLORIOUS.
 I finally got both trees down, and things packed up. But then it was still crazy cold outside, and there was no way I was carrying tubs out to the shed in -30 wind chills. Finally on Wednesday it warmed up to above negative. ugh. And I carried them out and put them away as quickly as possible. The piano still looked messy but at least I could get to it at this point Also, I still haven't found the picture frames that go on my long shelf above the piano.... #Mystery
 Wednesday was the first day since the previous Friday that I had put any makeup on or tried to look decent. And If I hadn't had to see people, I wouldn't have! I was due for my allergy shot, so I braved the weather and got my shot and loaded up on books at the library. #Priorities
 The rest of the week looked like this! It was hard to keep my house warm, so I was huddled under 2 blankets for the majority of the week. It was so cold I just didn't want to move.
 Sunday morning it was back to reality. The weather was warmer than the previous Sunday, so I knew my truck would start. And thankfully it did. You know it's been cold when you see that it's 15 degrees at almost 8 am and you get excited because that's over 30 degrees warmer than it's been and it can only go up from there!
 Yes, it is January and I'm still rocking the buffalo plaid vest. It is comfy and cozy! Church was good and the worship was excellent! Fed my soul! I came home and did some cleaning and preparation for the upcoming work week. 

 And then I ended the night with another book by my newest favorite Author. Robert Whitlow. I read three of his books since Jan 1. and have started this book and another one on my kindle. SO good!!
My Poor hands. My skin is really dry, and with the cold weather and hand washing my hands get even drier and rashy. I have been slathering on the lotion, but after lots of cleaning yesterday my skin was hurting. If you had told me as a young girl/teen that I would have dry hands and have them so bad in the winter that they crack and bleed.. I would have laughed in your face. I suffer from Hyperhidrosis, which is a whole other story, but I had surgery for it in 2000, and my hands haven't sweated since. Sometimes it's hard to remember those painful days of my youth. I sure wouldn't expect my skin would be so dry now. I think I will take dry, cracked and bleeding skin over hands that drip sweat like a faucet is on. All. day. and.night.  God is gracious!


WHOOO HOOO!!! Made it to the last of 2017 and managed to do a weekly recap each week! I am proud of myself! Never mind that it's 2018 when I'm writing this. I didn't say they were all timely :)

 Christmas Day I woke up in my own house. Coffee and foodless. It was a rough start! I packed up my carry on, and hit the road for attempt #2 to go home. But first! I had a special stop to make. The day before I dropped off Christmas Cards my students had decorated and a big batch of my homemade fudge to our Police Dept. I wasn't able to do our other Police Dept (On the West Side) so I stopped there on the way home Christmas morning! I have to say it was really fun to do it on Christmas morning! I met a really nice Officer and he was super sweet and so appreciative of the gift. Made my day! After that I stopped at the gas station for a little gas and got a drink and a mini bag of chips for breakfast. 
 I finally made it home, carried all my stuff inside and it was FINALLY, can I say finally anymore? FINALLY time for Christmas dinner. Y'all I was starved. STARVED.  I could have just ate the 7 layer salad and been happy but everything else was good also!
 Then it was time for Luke 2, which I took a video, no picture. And presents!

 How cute is my Mom in her new boots?!

We had a lovely time opening presents and taking our time. And I have no idea what we did in the evening. Actually I think that was the one time I read!
 Because the next day this looney toons arrived!
 His reindeer reenactment.
 I like this face better though!

Little brother in the background was too busy finding every single toy and making sure it was on the ground for all to trip on.
 And lusting over Grandpa's Tractors.
 While we were waiting for Grandpa to get home from work, Snugglemuffin and I played a round of Christmas Who Am I. He is as Savage as his Auntie is!
 Then it was present time! I gave Lovemuffin a ton of books, and he really liked them. He was reading away!
 Sweet boy.
 After their wrestling match. I can't even handle how tall Snugglemuffin is getting. Those darn on this day pop up on facebook and they kill me every time.
 He sat beside me on the loveseat for the first year, and we had such a nice time! I told him funny stories from teaching and he understood them! We hung out while opening presents and I marveled over when and how he got this big?!
 Lovemuffin likes to help people open presents. (When his are gone. HA!)
 After the boys presents were opened it was time for a late dinner. Someone was feeling a little Hangry. I asked him, Alexander, do you get Hangry when you need to eat? And he replies by GROWLING at me! HAHAHAHA He might not talk your ear off but that kid is smart! And hilarious! I think it was the next day? Or the day after? I was reading a Berenstein Bears book to him, and we came across a page with a shark on it, and he fake screamed. HAHAHAHAHAH I said is that Scary? Lots of head nodding and UH HUH. I about died. He is SO funny!!

He also has started calling me Chee. Just like his big brother did. And largely because he has a name for everyone else but Auntie Charity is a handful, so we went with a tried and true. I love hearing that sweet little voice say Chee! I have him on video saying it and I won't tell you how many times I've watched it since we said goodbye.
 The next day it was more playing...
 Helping Nana in the kitchen...
 Basically your typical Wednesday.
 Thursday was more cooking. Sidenote. I went into the kitchen and saw all these white marks on the back of his shirt and pants. I had to sneak back out and go tell his Mommy to just talk a quiet walk into the kitchen. hahahah

 All Auntie wanted for Christmas was a good tree picture with her boys. I talked it up and kept telling them, ok, tomorrow we're going to look nice and sit in front of the tree and take pictures.

I had sat down in front of the tree to test the lighting and a certain little short someone came over and plopped himself into my lap without me even asking! My heart pretty much exploded at that moment. A year ago he wouldn't have done that! But now he has finally decided we are not serial killers and that he loves his Auntie Chee. Of course my third nephew Wolfie had to be in all the pictures as well.
 It was basically a Christmas miracle! I miss those two little stinkers already!

 The one who made me an Auntie. And his tooth that is half in, half out. :)
 Let me preface this by saying, if I ever have children I am stopping my Mom at the door when she comes to my house to make sure she doesn't have anything with batteries. She loves anything that makes sound. And therefore has several decorations that are not silent. Like the dog and snowman above, and the bear behind Lovemuffin who reads the night before Christmas. He was completely enamoured with both of them, and frequently had both going at the same time. It was loud.
 Mom and I in our matching plaid on Friday morning. Friday was the day we all left, I headed back to town, and the Iowan's back to their home state. It was an early morning but snow was moving in so we all needed to hit the road.
 I got back into town by 11 am. Unloaded, half unpacked, watched the news, went to Target, then went across town to a chiro apt and came back home in a snowstorm. I had to pick up some medicine at the pharmacy and saw DQ as I was driving by, and despite it being 17 degrees an oreo blizzard sounded delightful. And it was!
And then I hunkered down for several days. We had insanely cold temps, think -21. Yes I said negative. So I didn't go anywhere until the next weds when it got up in the teens. Even then my truck still did not want to start! The one good thing about the insane cold weather? I barely heard any fireworks on new years eve.


Wednesday, December 27, 2017


 Well I started off last week with sickness. So we join in the week on Weds, my next to last day of teaching! Christmas party in your lesson week was still happening for some students who couldn't come the week before so I busted out my antlers again!

 Thursday I was feeling tired, and I had a ton of errands to run before teaching so I loaded up with a big ol mason jar of coffee.
 I had to go get a frame for this AMAZING painting that one of my students Dad's made for me! That is Audra and her family in front of their old house when they sold it. It was her birthday gift.

 Last day of lessons called for a festive headband! I snapped this in the middle of the afternoon when I was down to 4!! students! 
 I also got cozy, because I had had a rough day. Break was never needed more!
 This is random but oh my word these chicken tenders are SO good! I got them at Target and now I need to buy more. It's a rare chicken tender that I will eat without sauce, but these are just SO good!!
 Friday morning I got up early and headed to M-Ville to meet up with Audra and Addie for lunch! They were in IN visiting family for Christmas and had a free hour for lunch. I was so excited to see them and felt so special that they made time to meet up with me!

Addie was QUITE excited to open presents!
 Audra with her birthday gift!
 I love Addie's OOOOOO face!
 Deep Discussions about her present

 Addie really liked her Mommy's Christmas presents. The necklace was a big hit. As was....
 The wax melts. HA! She really liked the "Cozy home" scented one. She kept sniffing them and then smiling and AHHHHH. It was cracking me up!
 Your turn to smell Miss Charity!
 "It's a name tag!" She is a smart one!

 Sometimes pictures with toddlers go well.. other times.........
 We take what we can get!

After meeting up with my Iowans, I headed back to Lafayette, and went to Ollie's for two presents I needed. It wasn't as packed as I was expecting, which I was very grateful for!

 Sunday was Christmas Eve. and a snow storm. I had signed up to serve at my churches 3 and 5 pm Christmas Eve Services, so I put on my fancy dress, and boots. :( Packed up my truck and headed out. I had to run some errands first which I got done a little slower than normal thanks to the snow.

 But at least I looked good!
 I didn't take a picture of myself at church with the trees, but I should have!
 I had time to burn during the first service so I painted my nails and chatted with my friend. And then the sermon was over and I messed up my nails while putting the paint in my purse. OH well!!
I served the last service as well and had planned to head home to my parents but the county roads were so bad near the farm my dad texted me and told me to stay home. So I went back to my house for the night. I had to search around town to find a food place that was open at 6 pm on Christmas eve. (I Didn't want  McD's) thankfully Firehouse Subs was open and I had a lovely christmas dinner of "Club on a Sub" my favorite!